The Stupidest Fucking Sentence Ever

Usain BoltPerhaps the stupidest sentence in the English language is this:

I didn’t come here to lose!

The last time I heard it was when I was over at a friend’s house and we were watching one of those cooking shows. The sentence is stupid on so many levels. To begin with, are we to believe that some people do show up to competitions to lose? Is there a runner who wins the Boston Marathon and is pissed off? “Fuck, I came here to lose!”

The sentence doesn’t say much either. Okay, so he didn’t come here to lose. Did he come here to enjoy the weather? Did he come here because it was a free trip? Did he come here to embarrass himself? I’m sure everyone really wants to know. But we all figure what he means is that he came here to win. He just wants to say it in a clever way. So why not, “I didn’t not come here to not lose”? That one sounds good. Instead of one double negative, it has two. And as an added bonus, it is almost impossible to figure out what it means!

Geoffrey MutaiBut what makes the sentence so terrible is the testosterone fueled subtext that the speaker can simply will his victory. That’s just bullshit.

Consider Geoffrey Mutai, one of the best marathon racers in the world. He holds the title for the fastest unofficial marathon time, 2:03:02. That’s an average of 4:42 per mile. For 26 miles. He’s an amazing man. He is also quite small. He is 5’7″ and weighs 119 pounds. I’m sure he is not dumb enough to ever say (in whatever language), “I didn’t come here to lose!” But I’m equally sure he comes to every event intent on winning.

Now consider Usain Bolt, one of the best sprinters in the world. He holds the title for the fastest 100 m and 200 m (and the unofficial fastest 150 m). That 100 m race amounts to 25.7 mph. He’s an amazing man. He is also quite big. He is 6’5″ and weighs 207 pounds. In other words, he’s about twice the size of Geoffrey Mutai. And I am equally sure that he is not dumb enough to ever say (in whatever language), “I didn’t come here to lose!” But as with Mutai, I’m sure he comes to competitions to win.

So both men come to whatever competition they enter to win. Now if they competed in a marathon, Mutai would win. If they competed in a sprint, Bolt would win. No amount of will would change the results of either of these races.

It could be that a good mental attitude helps a little, but it is swamped by other factors like Usain Bolt’s enormous stride or Geoffrey Mutai’s low weight or a half percentage point change in humidity. It’s like with cancer: despite what people say, having a good mental attitude doesn’t have any effect on cancer outcomes.

So please, stop saying, “I didn’t come here to lose!” You aren’t going to will yourself to victory, and saying this just means that you’re a dick.

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